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Houses in Delhi in the 1840s

Drawings from the 'Delhi Book' of Thomas Metcalfe, held by the British Library.

The palace of Bahadur Shah

The palace of Bahadur Shah [Add.Or. 5475, folio 22]

The picture above shows the Diwan-i Khass (Private Audience Hall) within the palace buildings in the Red Fort, Delhi. The palace and fort were built by Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor between 1639 and 1648. It remained the principal residence of the Mughals until it was looted by the British during the tragic events of the Indian Uprising in 1857-8. Painting by Mazhar 'Ali Khan (fl. 1840s).

 

Thomas Metcalfe's private residence

Thomas Metcalfe's private residence [Add.Or. 5475, folio 84 verso and 85 recto]

Thomas Metcalfe's private residence on the banks of the Yamuna River. In this house he stored his books, all of which were destroyed during the Indian Uprising in 1857-8. This building contained an ingenious series of underground rooms called taikhanas that were used during the hot season. A picture of one of the taikhanas, which served as a billiard room, is visible in the top right corner of the enlarged image.

 

A tomb near the Qutb Minar, south of Delhi

A tomb near the Qutb Minar, south of Delhi. [Add.Or. 5475, folio 82]

A tomb near the Qutb Minar, south of Delhi, converted by Thomas Metcalfe into his country house. It was known as the 'Dilkusha' ('delight of the heart'), and Metcalfe used to lend it out to bridal parties for their honeymoon. Bahadur Shah had a residence nearby which he used during the rainy season.


The British Library acquired the Delhi Book with the generous assistance of the National Art Collections Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund.